You might have read about the now death of Lowes Iris. For a while they had been looking for a buyer. Instead they will brick all the devices and call it a day.
This highlights one of the challenges of IoT… people expect the devices to live longer than the revenue streams that support them. I plan to still have an office light 10 years from now, but the widget that I bought was a 1-time deal. I’m running opensource (tasmota, HomeAssistant, the KanKun bash, etc.), but most folks are not.
Here, what were Lowe’s alternatives? Lose money ongoing?
But from a risk standpoint, these orphaned devices present a huge Mirai-like challenge. Other industries (e.g. the oil exploration industry) have a pool they each pay into to ‘clean up the toxic spills’ left by the companies that have vanished. (Side note: thanks to the Supreme Court of Canada on the decision in this area yesterday!). Perhaps there should be a $0.05/device tax that goes to a pool, and a requirement to place your software source code in escrow… If you stop updating, the code comes out of escrow and the pool pays people to maintain… hmmm.
At least Lowes is bricking them, presumably reducing their exposure to the zombie-uprising that would otherwise be near certain. I’m sure the consumers are very thrilled to have a device hardwired into their home that they paid for break 🙂